Brunei DPMM have announced that they will continue to play in the S-League next season.
Last week, the club had posted on their website that they were exploring the possibility of leaving Singapore's professonal football league to join Indonesia's top-tier league.
CNN Indonesia reported that the club had met officials from the Football AssociationIndonesia last week to discuss the matter.
Sources had revealed that DPMM were concerned that the FAS S-League revamp plans on imposing age quotas and a reduction in the number of foreign players would hurt their ability to be competitive.
But on Monday,the 2015 S-League champions removed the post, announcing instead that they will stayin the competition for the next season,which starts in March.
The Straits Times understands that the U-turn came about as the FAS considers allowing DPMM to sign four foreign players -twice the number local clubs are allowed.
Sources also revealed that there will be no age restrictions placed on the rest of the playing roster.
This raised eyebrows within the football fraternity as the FAShad consulted local clubs on the matter and, if DPMM are given special concesson,that will appear to go against the natonal body's plans to focus on youth development.
An age quota aimed at giving younger players more exposure will be imposed on the six senior local clubs next season while Japanese side Albirex Niigata, the league's other foreign side, will also be subjected to restrictions.
For a 21-man squad, two-time defending champons Albirex must have nine Under-21 players,nine Under-23s and only one player of any age.They will also be allowed to sign two U-23 Singaporeans.
The FAS did not confirm the DPMM's announcement, but in response to ST's queries, a spokeman said: "In view of the announced changes to competition rules,the FAS is in discussions with DPMM on their participation in the 2018 domestic professonal league.
"An announcement will be made in due course."
But ST understands that some S-League clubs have called for the FAS to allow DPMM to field only two of their four imports at any time in a match,while others have requested that local clubs eb allowd to sign a third foreign player.
Some in the fraternity believe that having four foreign players will give DPMM a huge advantage but Warriors FC general manager Paul Poh is unfazed.
"I can understand that the U-23 move is a Singapore development programme and we can't enforce it on Brunei DPMM if they feel that their youth is not ready," he said.
"We can work with the number of foreign players that they have been allowed to sign.They have been our partners for so long and we should move to keep them with us."
Poh is confident that S-League clubs can compete with DPMM because of a shift in players' mindsets.
"My personal view is that (with the new regulations) players now understand that they have to work hard.I believe that if they do,they can be good as a foreign player."
Others were not so competitive.
Speaking on condition on anonymity,a former S-League club official scoffed at the new rules.
"There's one set of rules for local clubs, one for the Young Lions,one for Albirex, and another for DPMM - they are making a mockery of the league," he sad.
'The league title will be a two-horse race between Albirex and DPMM because the rules for local clubs will definitely weaken them."